Low intra-Africa trade leads to uneven economic growth among African regions: UN agency

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ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Friday blamed low intra-Africa trade as a major factor for uneven economic development levels among the five African regions.

The ECA called for concerted efforts to augment the “very low” level of intra-Africa trade, noting that “African countries are among the least competitive in the world trade.”

In a statement issued on Friday, it said low intra-Africa trade has created uneven economic growth among the five African regions.

“In Africa, the expected 3.4 percent growth rate (continental average) reflects very different sub-regional realities, which range from a 6.4 percent growth rate in east Africa to 3.4 percent in west and north Africa, 2.5 percent in central Africa and 2.1 percent in southern Africa,” the statement read.

A successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) would help elevate intra-Africa trade “to the whole new level,” it said.

The ECA, which also on Friday released a comprehensive report on trade facilitation in north Africa region for enhanced regional economic integration, said “intra-north African trade remains very low despite the strong potential among North African economies.”

North African economies have strong complementarities as they share geographical proximity, infrastructure, linguistic and cultural similarities that would help boost trading exchange across many economic sectors, the report said.

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